Thursday, February 09, 2012
Heinrich Votes to Bring Accountability to Washington
U.S Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) today voted for legislation that holds Members of Congress, congressional staff, Executive Branch officials, and judicial officers subject to the same insider trading rules as everyone else. Rep. Heinrich is a cosponsor of the original Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. A revised version of the STOCK Act passed the House today by a vote of 417-2.
“This is just one of many steps we must take in order to restore trust in government and bring accountability to Washington,” said Rep. Heinrich.
House Republican Leaders finally relented in bringing the STOCK Act to the floor for a vote, but not before meaningful provisions that promoted additional transparency and accountability were removed.
“It’s outrageous that in the dark of night Republican leaders stripped critical provisions from the bill that would police those who collect ‘political intelligence’ and help prosecute criminal wrongdoing by public officials,” said Rep. Heinrich. “I remain hopeful that these bipartisan provisions will be added back to the bill when it goes to the Conference Committee in order to provide additional transparency and accountability in Washington.”
Here is an overview of many of the bill’s provisions to bring greater accountability to Washington:
- Ban Insider Trading: Prohibits Members of Congress from trading stocks and other securities on the basis of confidential information they receive as lawmakers. It makes clear that they are not exempt from the federal law and regulations that ban such insider trading.
- Reporting on Stock Sales: Requires Members of Congress to disclose the purchase or sale of stocks, bonds, commodities futures and other securities within 30 days of notification of the transaction, allowing up to 45-days if there is an extension granted. The information would be posted on the Web. The new reporting requirements would not apply to transactions involving investments in widely held investment funds (i.e. mutual funds or 529s).
- Expand Ban on Congressional Pensions for Felons: Expands existing law that bans Congressional pensions for Members of Congress convicted of committing a felony. The amendment stops pensions for Members of Congress convicted of 22 additional crimes, including insider trading, and would apply to crimes while serving as any elected official – not just while in Congress.
- No Bonuses for GSEs: Bans the payment of bonuses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives while the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are under government conservatorship.
- Mortgage Disclosure Provision: Requires Members to publicly disclose all residential mortgages, including the date that the mortgage was entered, the range of the amount, the interest rate, the term, and the name and address of the creditor.
- Post-Employment Negotiation Restrictions: Includes provisions with restrictions on how executive branch officials handle job negotiations with prospective employers.
- Wrongfully Influencing Private Entities Employment Decisions Executive Branch Officers and Employees: Extends the current Congressional prohibition on wrongfully influencing private employment decisions to cover all executive branch officers and employees.